tv CNN Newsroom CNN December 17, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
thank you so much for joining us. i am live in atlanta. we begin with developing news as we look at live pictures from washington where a tense stand-off over the money in your pockets is happening as we speak. the senate passing an extension to the payroll tax cuts but only for two months instead of a full year like many had hoped for. but first it has to pass the house where a vote is scheduled
for monday night. and many of those house republicans reportedly are not happy with the deal, even if it goes through, we will likely be right here in february talking about it all over again. president barack obama encouraged by the action in the senate still wants to see more. >> i'm very pleased to see the work that the senate has done. while this agreement is for two months, it is my expectation, it would be inexcusable for congress not to further extend this middle class tax cut for the rest of the year. it should be a formality and hopefully it's done with as little drama as possible when they get back in january. >> if, if the payroll tax cut extension doesn't go through, 160 million americans would take home less pay starting on january 1. in the meantime the senate also passed a nearly trillion dollar spending bill to keep the
government operating through september 30. the president is expected to sign that this week. >> qualities cited in a major endorsement for mitt romney ahead iowa caucuses. just 17 days to go before the first major test for the candidates. peter is standing by live for us in des moines. romney is not even in iowa. what does this mean for him? >> reporter: he is not and that's a good point you make. romney has not been here a lot this year and yet the register is endorsing him. they endorsed him tonight. what does this mean? any candidate would want this. it's good. you can use it in a tv ad. will it move a lot of votes? that remains to be seen. probably not. what is also important is what they said about romney's rivals.
listen to what they said about romney's chief rivals. this is what they wrote. he stands out especially among candidates now in the top tier. newt gingrich is an undisciplined partisan who would alienate not unite. ron paul's idealogical would lead to economic chaos and isolationism. those are very harsh words that are being planted in voters' brains. not good news for either of those two candidates. >> let's take a look at the latest american research poll. gingrich is on top. you see him there with 22%. romney tied for second place with ron paul at 17%. could an endorsement like this shake up the poll? >> i talked to a lot of republicans tonight about whether or not this means anything. most of them said probably not. it's a good talking point but these endorsements don't have
very much predictive power. in 2000 they endorsed george w. bush. that was the last time they got the candidate right. last time they endorsed john mccain. >> where is newt gingrich in all of this? >> reporter: mitt romney is in south carolina and newt gingrich is in south carolina. everyone accuses him of not campaigning hard enough here and yet he takes the weekend off. he was doing a book signing today which was the exact opposite of meeting voters in iowa. insiders think that is a ridiculous strategy. but newt gingrich wants to do things his own way and he is confident. we will see if this pays off for him. >> thank you very much, peter. we go to new york where wall street was reoccupied for today. tomorrow's demonstration marked three months since the movement began. the protesters were cleared out
of this area and are no longer allowed to sleep there. the church says it supports the movement but warns that a re-occupation could result in legal and police action. >> and to the philippines where they are reeling tonight from a large tropical storm. more than 400 people are dead, hundreds more are missing. the storm dumped a month's worth of rain in about 12 hours, triggering flash floods and landslides. the u.s. has signalled it is ready to help with efforts. is. >> you would think the philippines are used to this kind of wther, not so much. it all happened so quickly despite warning, this happened in the middle of the night. it caught many people off guard.
all of that rain collects in the mountains and has nowhere to go so it funnels down the mountains and goes into the rivers and streams and water raised so very quickly it reached rooftops. it gave people very little time. >> it's going to take a while for all of this to run off so we don't know the complete damage to this. >> people are still missing. they have already rescued about 2,000 people and maybe about 400 additional people are unaccounted for. no power, roads are cut off. it will be difficult to get in there and clean up. >> thank you very much. we will go to cairo where they are bricing after another violent day in egypt's capital. a defensive woman nearly naked to the waist dragged off by officers. she was just one of the victims of a crack down on the latest wave of decent there. the clashes left ten people dead
and many wounded. protesters are demanding that the interim prime minister quit. he has refused so far and also blaming the demonstrators for torching a library in cairo. >> also today, leon panetta became the first secretary of defense to visit libya. he didn't try to sugar coat. the transition to democracy will be long and difficult. but the secretary said he believed libya's future would be prosperous. he called libya a source of inspiration for the world. >> u.s. troops are heading out of iraq, facing a deadline. a war that began eight years ago draws to a close. so we really had to up our game. with spark, the boss earns double miles on every purchase, every day. that's setting the bar pretty high.
hello again this is our special coverage of the end of the u.s. war in iraq. joining us now is cnn international anchor who is in washington. we want to welcome our viewers around the world. chris lawrence has been joining us. >> that's right, don. you know, we learned a couple of weeks ago that most of the troops if not all of the troops would be home by the middle of this month. they would be out early and be home in time for christmas.
i think it was especially poi poignant for those who had done three, four and five tours. what you really take away from it is your experience in iraq depends on when you were there and where you where when you were there. if you were there in early 2004, there were only 14 insurgent attacks aday in the middle of 2007 that number had gone up to 163. but the one thing that the united states and military but the money that the united states will be paying over the next 30, 40, 50 years. when this war started, the estimates were between 50 and
$80 billion for the war. he suggested that the war could cost 200 billion. >> there are hes mates that it issel over a trillion dollars. >> those are the estimates. they are estimates of the number of iraqi civilians. then of course you have the american military debts. we shouldn't forget the american military injuries and all the post-traumatic stress coming back from a war zone. and he is joining us live, now from little rock, arkansas.
i believe we have another retired general. he is standing by in washington. general clark, i want to start with you as we look back on these nine years. this war that many now are saying was based on faulty intelligence. what do we take away from it? >> i think the structure in the united states army, the leadership and training. kept it's strength it, motivation and families. so that's the first thing. secondly we know some things cough been done better. we cough gone in with more arabic speakers. after we got to baghdad, we cough anticipated the insurgency and dealt with it more
effectively and smoothly. but all things said and done, the iraqis have a chance now to have a democracy. it's up to them and i think our men and women should feel very proud of their accomplishments. >> well, now that iraq is having a political crisis of its own right now. >> firing the rank and file soldier and getting rid of the entire infrastructure might have been the biggest blunder of the war. do you agree with that? >> that was a huge blunder. taking a theme from general clark. clearly what we didn't have going into iraq, i think going into it is that we didn't have enough troop strength early on.
as the senior intelligence guy, there was a lot that i just didn't know. questions i simply could not answer. we didn't have enough soldiers on the ground early on. that was challenge number one and clearly when we took -- when the decision was made which clearly was a professional force and the backbone of iraqi civilization. a lot of great leadership cough been used without advantage. >> what do you learn from that going forward or has america at least for the perceivable future lost its appetite after this costly war not just financially but also in terms of troop lives? >> well, i was one of those who argued that this war wasn't a necessity in the first place.
we clearly didn't think through what is called fades four. when i warned about it in 2002, some friends told me they had been prevented from actually doing solid work on inside the pent gone on phase four. certainly the state depart ment. still people are always caught up in something like this with a weapons, the targets. how it's going to work. but the hard work afterwards is the part not captured by arrows
on the map and computer simulations and so forth. it takes a lot of people. and we tried to do it. >> it's don here in atlanta. i want to ask you whether or not how this is going be recorded in histor history. and the democratic -- with the united states could yield benefits in the future. but when weighing those possible benefits against cost of the intervention, there is simply no conceivable calculus by which operation iraqi freedom could be judged to have been successful. >> don, that's a premature assessment. i would say we need to give this some time to give a good asse
assessme assessment. he was a proxy of sorts in terms of our relationship relative to iran. but saddam needed to go away, absolutely. he did, in fact, have weapons of mass destruction that he had used before. we began to determine what that weapons of mass destruction stockpile had looked like and what the capabilities were. so my point is history is going to have to judge this thing and i think we're being extremely premature. we have seen an incredible activity on the part of our amazing military young men and
women over the course of this last decade that we must focus on. >> there is a war in iraq. it is not clear when the u.s. war in afghanistan will finish. nato has scheduled to withdraw in 2004. general john allen plans to shift the u.s. presence to a more advisory role and follow through on that function through 2016 when the afghan air force is supposed to be completed. and tonight we want to talk about what matters in other news. finding out what happened to one millionaire. a corn bread millionaire. that's a goal a georgia woman
set for herself to buy back her foreclosed home. she has not given up hoping one day she will live up to the name she gave herself more than a year and a half ago. beverly davis believes the recipe for success is in her hands. >> this is the basic ingredient. >> her corn bread mix she hopes will one day help her rise out of her situation that hit bottom in 2010. that's when davis lost her job and her home to foreclosure, forcing her into a homeless shelter. >> instead of getting embarrassed and getting depressed, i decided to fight back with faith. >> the first round looked promising. she calls herself the corn bread millionaire. she was on several local and national newscasts talking about her ambition, to bake her way back into homeownership. >> the business when i launched it did great for the first three months. fantastic. >> but later davis suffered
serious blows. first the three bedroom home she was trying to buy back went to a higher bidder. and then came the sucker punch that she is still reeling from. >> i have been unemployed for two and a half years. there are creditors that still haven't been paid. but one couldn't wait. >> she had no choice but to pay the creditor. >> it was ugly. it shut down the business and shut me down. >> i don't she's launched her story to good-hearted companies. >> i'm seeking corporate sponsors to help with purchasing
advertising for the debt free dream house. >> she has walked from store front to store front trying to sell adds based on her website. davis gets by doing odd jobs and selling popcorn while living with a friend. a key to survival now, staying positive and staying focused, she says, for a corn bread come back. she hopes her mix will be back on sale and she will be back in a home of her own. >> i believe the next time around it will be a blast because i know whatnot to do and most who have ever started a successful business will tell you they have a chapter on failure. >> davis says her new goal is to be back in her own home by april of next year in time for her 509 birthday.
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welcome back. live in the cnn held quarters in atlanta with special coverage on the withdrawal of u.s. troops from iraq. >> welcome to all of our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm in washington d.c. and welcome to you all and thank you for watching. nick robertson is standing by live in london.
nick covered the iraq war for many years and the british ended combat operations in iraq two years ago. so as the united states is looking back. and by the way for all the viewers watching, we will certainly be looking forward as well after all of this is over and what the u.s. military may have learned from it. what were the ramifications since then for them? >> the reasons that britain went to war is its peak had 46,000 troops in iraq. there was a lack of public support and a lot of criticism. one of the interesting things that has emerged from the inquiry that has been going on for more than two years now is and isn't expected to conclude until next summer. thes aer tags that he made that
services had conclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction in iran. that doesn't hold water. the general is going hear me. just now you were talking about wmd, clear evidence of it that saddam hussein could rebuild it. but one of the things and it is too soon to look and analyze the situation. but if from the british perspective they were already saying that the final conclusions are not out, they are essentially saying that the issue of wmd did not hold water. this was more about regime change. >> nick, i need to tell you, early on in the war, we conducted a number of operations to round up saddam's top folks, the top 55 as you could well imagine. we created and as a senior intel
guy, we created the infrastructure. we started to get incredible insights in terms of capabilities that existed and were available to saddam at the time. clearly what we didn't find were stockpiles of shiny things that had already been militaryized and already chemicals and other forms of wmd that were ready to be delivered. but saddam had a vast apparatus and incredibly talented folks who were running the mechanism so that they would be available and he had done a good job of hiding that from his people and the international community in terms of what his capabilities were. he could not come clean there
was a great deal of evidence. >> this is actually a controversial thing to say. it has been found at the top political levels that wmd was not a threat going into the war. >> let's get back to what's happening -- all combat troops from the yiunited states are coming home. so far the former defense secretary, the former vice
president had said when it comes to the wmd, as you said, it's too far to look back on -- they look at this and you can correct me if i'm wrong as water under the bridge. at least where the u.s. is concerned. >> i absolutely agree with you. >> we were not prepared -- ill prepared, let me put it that way, for phase four, which is everything that follows major combat operations. we bolted that on to our formation in order to try to address that and it wasn't done well. we didn't have enough boots on the ground in order to accommodate all of those missions. >> let's look forward. we have looked back quite a bit now. what happens now?
you have an entire faction that has walked out of parliament now. what about the police force? what about ethnic and faxal divisions. >> let's move forward. the government in iraq is immature and it's growing. who would have thought about that? there is not a long history. >> some will tell you that we didn't need america to invade. >> what i'm address something what we see today. we can have a future in iraq. they told us they don't want us there any more.
>> for going back without another invasion or another declaration of war. >> i'm not sure that that's the case. we have got some 20,000 people there. we have got training missions. we're collecting intelligence. we're providing the iraqis an alternative to iranians domination. as much as there is iranians influence in there, there is a lot of concern even among the
shia population. >> do you think american troops can end up back in that country? >> well, i don't know. this is certainly not what anybody wants. but on the other hand, there are going to be lots of security linging in there. there might be some american troops that go in there in a very covert fashion. i wouldn't draw to much of this. the iraqis want to be a separate nation. all of the blocks do. nobody wants to become part of iran. what you have got is a game of chicken right now. various groups are moving and shoving back and forth. they know what the risks are because the risks that they are
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extension of the payroll tax cuts instead of a full year as many had hoped. many house republicans are reportedly unhappy with the deal. if the extension doesn't go through, 160 million americans would take home less pay starting on january 1. >> mitt romney has won a coveted endorsement. the register is endorsing him as its choice. the biggest newspaper in iowa picked romney for his sobriety, wisdom and judgment. polling in iowa shows him in second place behind newt gingrich. a powerful tropical storm is blamed for killing 436 people. hundreds more are missing. the storm dumped a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours. the u.s. is ready to assist in the recovery. >> there are questions on gender
identity. it came up today in his trial. his attorneys brought up his online alter ego. he is accused of the biggest intelligence leak. the charges could land him in jail for life. >> you know, we have been reporting extensively from baghdad throughout this war. >> capit capital. and also nick robertson is live in london. it looks like dave in the iraqi capital. as all of this is unfolding, the
president promising the return of or the removal or the exit of all u.s. military presence before the end of the year, iraqis, what are they saying about all of this? >> although there is this process where they can apply to be refugees it has been incredibly slow and you ended up with thousands of iraqis who have worked on u.s. bases. to even the people wo were doing laundry, sell iing they are vied as being traders and many of them are utterly convinced that they have an impending death sentence that is looming over
their heads. they don't know where to go. they don't know where to turn to. they don't trust the security forces. they are in an incredibly different position. we wanted to go back and revisit some of those we had spoken to or at least speak to some of the others who are still here waiting to go the u.s. no one was willing to talk to us even if we were going to be concealing their identities, they are that afraid. >> all right. and so some of them are waiting for the paper work to make it to the u.s. or other countries? what's the status with regards to that? >> well the process has always been criticized for being incredibly slow and now it seems to have drawn to a near standstill. that trip was cancelled.
they have been waiting in iraq for a year. bearing in mind because they thought they were going to be traveling, they sold off everything. they are trying to make it day by day because they gave up their jobs thinking they were going to america, the land of opportunity. >> we are live in baghdad and we will rejoin a little later for more on the political crisis that is unfolding as well. >> absolutely. you mentioned this earlier. iraqi civilian debts estimated a total of 103,000 rs maybe 16,000. the end of the u.s. war in iraq, our special coverage coming up in moments. spark cash gives me the most rewards of any small business credit card. it's hard for my crew to keep up with 2% cash back on every purchase, every day. 2% cash back. that's setting the bar pretty high. thanks to spark, owning my own business has never been more rewarding. [ male announcer ] introducing spark the small business credit cards from capital one. get more by choosing unlimited double miles
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>> if you are looking for a job this time of year you may be able to take advantage of the holiday season to get ahead. we spoke with brad carsh for some helpful tips. >> tell our viewers what you need to be doing to take advantage of this time of year. >> speaking of this time of year, one tip that i have is don't be greedy. and a lot of job seekers want to hold out for the perfect job. if you have been out for a week or a month, maybe you can hold out. but if you have been long term
unemployed you want to get any job. >> it's easy to have the discussion once you have been there. >> if you are going have 5 million people rolling off unemployment benefits, you can't afford to wait too long for what you think is your old level. >> i say just get in, do something. as long as you won't be miserable. >> how should you be using the holiday season to find the connections? we talked a lot about networking as an important opportunity. keeping up social media connections. is it crass or savvy to make those connections. >> people get worried that they will have to be a little too crass. people enjoy networking. they want to talk to friends and know what's going on. i can ente.
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imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. go to cymbalta.com to learn about a free trial offer. >> if you are just joining us, i'm at the cnn world headquarters with special coverage of the final days of the u.s. war in iraq. holly is in washington tonight helping us out. she knows a lot about this because she has covered it since the very beginning. and we want to welcome our viewers from around the world.
earlier this week, defense secretary said that the cost was high but the iraq war was not in vein. scott served our country in iraq and joins us now to share his perspective. you actually served with spider at one point? >> that's correct. i was on the command staff of the coalition forces during the invasion in 2003. general marx and i sat next to each other in 2002. >> you guys care to share? go ahead? >> i remember that mass. absolutely honestly. i remember that mass exceptionally well. father gave a great homily but he was an odd duck, wasn't he?
>> you serbed in bosnia, afghanistan, iraq, you have done three deployments here. does it seem surreal that all of the combat troops will be home by the end of year? >> it really does. and i am so happy that the president has made this decision than our troops are coming home. i spent three straight deployments overseas. and it's realllly difficult pop. for the families now to be able to wake up and spend the holidays with their loved ones is something we should all be really happy about and what really warms my heart is the knowledge that a young child at camp lejeune isn't going to have to go to bed next saturday night worrying about the safety of their mom or dad in iraq, and a family at ft. stewart, georgia, isn't going to have to worry about an unwelcome knock on the door on christmas day.
so this is really a great thing that our troops are coming home. >> i spoke earlier, representative, with someone who had done two tours of duty there. he said it's like seeing santa claus. santa claus is really real coming out of the airport when you see those homecomings. it's amazing. much has been made of this from some conservatives saying this is a political move by the president. and so on. regardless of how you feel about the politics of it, your heart certainly warms when you see the images of these troops coming home to their families. >> representative? >> i'm sorry. i didn't hear you, don. >> i'm sorry? >> i'm sorry, don, i couldn't hear you. >> i was talking about the politics of this. much has been made about the politics saying this is politics by the u.s. president to bring these troops home now just ahead of an election year. regardless of how you feel, your
heart warms when you see these troops coming home to their families if you wit this in an airport or see it on television. >> absolutely. i witnessed it in an airport today flying from atlanta to new york. and it was so wonderful to know that the troops are coming this way supposed to heading into harm's way. with respect to the politics, the president made the right decision. without question. we have been at war for a long time. we have accomplished our objectives. the objectives that were laid out by president bush on march 19th of 2003 when this war started were to remove the threat. that's been done, and to restore the control of the country to the iraqi people. that, too, has been accomplished. and the other thing that president bush said when he started the war was that our forces would come home as soon as they accomplished these tasks. and they've accomplished these tasks and it's time for us to welcome them home with open arms. >> this is a deal as many have said made under the bush administration and that the
obama administration representative, was merely carrying out those orders made then. >> and i don't hear a large cry to say let's extend the war longer. the war is finished. the mission has been met. and it is time to come home. this is the right decision. it's also nice in a time where there's so much inability to tackle problems and accomplish tasks and goals that we're finishing something. it is the end of the iraq war. now we can focus on in irk. >> we're up against a break here. thank you very much. live to baghdad when we come right back. >> thank you. everyone have their new blackberry from at&t?
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we are witnessing an american war coming to a close soon at the end of the year, that's what the u.s. president barack obama has said. i'm don lemon. thank you for joining us. this is our special coverage of the final days of the u.s. war in iraq. with me for the broadcast, i'm glad she's here is international anchor hala gorani. we both welcome our international audience tonight. hala, you have been to iraq and know the place. you've reported on it. >> right, and it's really within the context of what's going on this year that i look at iraq, as well, don because it's indistinguishable as an arab nation from every other arab nation that has gone over the last year or so. today is the one-year anniversary of the
self-immolation of that young tunisian fruit vendor who set off the arab spring. you look eric at a country that's carbon through more than nine years of war. more than 100,000 iraqi deaths, the destruction to the from structure and a government now having a very hard time functioning as a democracy. the question is as i saw several years ago at the height of the insurgency, what is the security situation going to be, and importantly, don, this is a big question for western nations as well, the iraq of saddam hussein was a counter weight to iran. that is now removed. so now what is the new picture going to be? what influence will iran have with its allies? syria, for instance? and i think we have to look at it within that context. it's a regional picture. >> the yeah. i look forward to more of your thoughts. it's interesting you saying it was a counter weight to other countries in the area. and we're talking about syriaen an all of those places there. and i think next if we are to be doing this soon, obviously, it
will be afghanistan and we don't know the when that's going to happen for sure. but right now, we know the u.s. president has said by the end of the year, all combat troops out of iraq and more of our coverage with hala gorani moments away. don't go anywhere. forty years ago, he wasn't worried about retirement. he'd yet to hear of mutual funds, iras, or annuities. back then, he had something more important to do. he wasn't focused on his future but fortunately, somebody else was. at usaa we provide retirement solutions for our military, veterans and their families.
from investments... to life insurance... to health care options. learn more with our free usaa retirement guide. call 877-242-usaa. when you're a sports photographer, things can get out of control pretty quickly. so i like control in the rest of my life... especially my finances. that's why i have slate, with blueprint. i can make a plan to pay off big stuff faster... or avoid interest on everyday things. that saves me money. with slate from chase, i'm always in control.